By MIKE REILLY
WILLISTON — Sonesta ES Suites Burlington recently completed a project that brand representatives call as much a “re-imagination and re-invigoration” as a renovation to the property. The multimillion-dollar upgrade includes 96 newly designed studio and two-bedroom suites that emphasize comfort and space for both work and relaxation. The ES Suites brand is Sonesta’s extended-stay hotel offering.
“We offer oversized guest rooms guests can live in — for work or play — with plenty of room to spread out,” said Mike Wohl, vice president of operations for Sonesta ES Suites. “For example, we’ve replaced the desk and kitchen table with a multipurpose high work surface and stools, freeing up more space in the room. We’ve upgraded the hotel to include at least one king bed in every room.”
Contractors for the Sonesta ES Suites project included Alliance Mechanical of Essex Junction, MEI Electrical Contractors of Williston, Vermont Concrete Cutting of Barre, and Anthony’s Commercial Cleaning of Montpelier.
Wohl said the new residence-style suites offer the amenities of a small apartment, including spacious bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, separate living and bath areas. Add a complimentary daily breakfast, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, on-site laundry, and self-service printers, as well as a 24-hour fitness center, heated indoor pool, whirlpool and barbecue grills — Wohl said you have the “perfect mix” of comfort and flexibility that appeal to both business travelers and families on vacation.
According to Wohl, Sonesta ES Suites’ target market is, “Primarily the local business community, especially those that are bringing in consultants or relocating employees — often for training or on-boarding — for more than a week at a time.”
Wohl emphasized that each Sonesta location is unique and reflects its local community’s needs.
“Specifically in Burlington, our guests also include travelers and tourists coming into the area to see local attractions, the colleges and universities, and to experience the area. Visitors from Canada continue to make up a portion of those guests,” he said.
“At Sonesta, we really deliver on our brand promise to provide more than just a place to stay — we want our guests to be more productive, relaxed and at home,” Wohl said. “Each hotel finds ways to bring the outside culture into the guest experience.”
He said that might come in the form of sponsoring a local youth sports team and sharing its game schedule with guests, serving a locally brewed beer at an evening social, or pastry from a local bakery as an “Everyday Surprise.”
Wohl explained one of the pillars of the Sonesta brand is “embracing opportunities to create ‘everyday surprises’ for our guests. To that end, we celebrate quirky holidays as a way to surprise and delight the people in our hotels for what might be just another mundane business trip for them. As an example, we might offer brown bag lunches to recognize National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, or offer the fixings for s’mores by the outdoor fire pit for S’mores Day, or host a checkers tournament in the lobby for International Checkers Day.”
Sonesta is a growing, global hospitality brand with 65 properties in eight countries (37 properties in the U.S). Besides its Sonesta ES Suites extended-stay facilities, Wohl said the company offers four other brands: the full-service Sonesta Hotels & Resorts, upper-upscale Royal Sonesta Hotels, intimate inns in Sonesta Posadas del Inca (Latin America), as well as its Sonesta Cruise Collection of luxury river ships on the Nile.
“We’ve grown from three U.S. hotels in 2012 to 65 hotels worldwide,” Wohl said. “While each of the brands and its service level is different, the one thread throughout is a personalized, unique experience, providing more than just a place to stay. We are a newer extended-stay brand, and really defined the design in the last two years as we completed the re-imagined process. We’ve created an open concept for our communal/shared areas, focused on how today’s guests use those spaces and how we can enhance that experience.”
For those new to the brand, Wohl noted the Sonesta Travel Pass.
“It’s a complimentary guest rewards program that gives you perks, points, privileges and exclusives on top of the warm, friendly service and the little extras you’ll find at any Sonesta,” he explained.
He said Devin Gaskell, director of sales at the Williston location, is the person to contact locally for information.
Sonesta ES Suites Burlington is located at 35 Hurricane Lane in Williston. Read more at www.sonesta.com/us/vermont/burlington/sonesta-es-suites-burlington-vt.